THIS is the calm before the storm.

The weekend between the NAB Challenge and the 2016 AFL Premiership season is a chance for everyone to relax for the year ahead. 

For AFL Fantasy coaches, it is time to cram - lockout is only a few days away.

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Pre-season games are an opportunity for clubs to trot out their draftees and get some match fitness into their stars. 

As the NAB Challenge went on, line-ups were getting closer to full strength and the best 22s were shaped.

Plenty of mid-priced players put their hand up for selection. 

Despite the success of the tried and true ‘guns and rookies’ strategy for Fantasy Classic, coaches have been keen to include the mid-pricers in their sides.

A happy medium: Best mid-priced options

Matt Crouch (MID, $396,000) has been a standout over the last month and as a result, appears in 18 per cent of teams. 

Before the NAB Challenge, Matt’s broth Brad was one of the most selected players due to his discounted price after missing last season. 

The 81, 105 and 100 points that Crouch jnr scored in the NAB Challenge came at a rate of 1.38 points per minute.

Bulldog Lachie Hunter (MID, $433,000) looks to be a better option than teammate Tom Liberatore (MID, $443,000) based on the NAB Challenge. 

Fourth-year Carlton player Nick Graham (MID, $353,000) hasn’t put a foot wrong and was one of the most consistent pre-season performers racking up 93, 90 and 122 points.

 Top 20 NAB Challenge Fantasy scores
Dan HanneberySydney SwansMID$613,000153Carlton
Sam MitchellHawthornMID $574,000142North Melbourne
Aaron HallGold CoastFWD/MID$422,000 130Adelaide
Josh GibsonHawthorn DEF $472,000129North Melbourne
Jason JohannisenW. BulldogsDEF $426,000 129Collingwood
Dayne ZorkoBrisbane Lions FWD/MID $500,000 127GWS
Bachar HouliRichmondDEF $481,000 125Port Adelaide
Michael Barlow FremantleFWD/MID $515,000 125 Richmond 
Matt Priddis West Coast MID $570,000 124 Essendon 
Jordan Lewis Hawthorn MID $613,000 123 Carlton 
Nick Graham Carlton MID $353,000 122 Sydney Swans 
Anthony Miles Richmond MID $485,000 120 Hawthorn 
Ed CurnowCarlton MID $442,000 119 Sydney Swans 
Steele SidebottomCollingwoodMID$565,000119Geelong
Jack SteeleGWSFWD/MID$342,000119Brisbane Lions
Stefan MartinBrisbane LionsRUC$631,000118GWS
Heath ShawGWSDEF$532,000118Brisbane Lions
Jake LloydSydney SwansMID$407,000118Port Adelaide
Mark LeCrasWest CoastFWD$464,000117Gold Coast
Jack StevenSt KildaMID$618,000117Melbourne

In the last two weeks, Aaron Hall (FWD/MID, $422,000) posted scores of 107 and 130 to be one of the biggest movers on the ownership charts. 

Filling the midfield void at the Suns, he has thrived with the extended time through the centre, tackling his way to some impressive Fantasy scores. 

Port's Sam Gray (FWD/MID, $427,000) put his hand up to be a forward option following his 107 against Richmond.

Both Sam Kerridge (FWD/MID, $299,000) and Daniel Wells (FWD/MID, $293,000) look set for big seasons and are bargains with very hand dual-position status.

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In the backline, Heath Shaw (DEF, $532,000) and Bachar Houli (DEF, $481,000) are the reliable premium options based on NAB form. 

However, it will be getting the value picks right that will separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to Fantasy success. 

Tom Sheridan (DEF, $359,000) and Daniel Howe (DEF, $265,000) sprung onto the watch-list as they look to cement their places in their respective club’s best 22.

The team below has been put together featuring players who have had smashed the pre-season and on paper, looks to be quite competitive. It may not suit the structure that some coaches are employing this season, but there is upside in most players - especially in the midfield.

With Patrick Dangerfield (MID, $589,000) as skipper and $28,000 left in the bank, this hype team would have racked up plenty of points in the NAB Challenge and I reckon could be huge in the opening rounds of the season proper.

Warnie's NAB Challenge hype team